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An empty Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is seen in this file photo. (CARLOS OSORIO/AP)
An empty Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is seen in this file photo. (CARLOS OSORIO/AP)

PATRICIA DAWN ROBERTSON

Why women cannot accept an NHL lockout Add to ...

Two words strike fear into every woman’s heart: NHL lockout. How are Canadian women supposed to cope in a world without televised hockey?

It’s an essential service. I say we gals lobby Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to order the Canadian players back to work. She may even have a vested interest. I’m betting her stay-at-home/comedian husband, David, and their two young sons are Ottawa Senators fans. And we know Ms. Raitt has hockey-mad Stephen Harper’s unqualified support.

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Like many overworked spouses, I rely heavily on televised hockey. Thanks to smarty-pants NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, I’m facing a grim season of botched reno projects and non-essential trips to Rona. Sure, I can grab the remote control when The Good Wife is on, but that’s small consolation.

It’s not the immediate fall season that has me worried. I can keep hubby happy with Saskatoon’s new Lingerie Football League for a few more months. We can ride out Thanksgiving with its nap-inducing turkey dinner. The exhausting run-up to the 100th Grey Cup will also fill the drama quotient until early December.

But what happens on those evenings when I need to sneak Christmas shopping in through the side door while hubby’s watching the Canucks? Midwinter is the real test of any relationship in rural Saskatchewan, and I don’t like the odds without televised hockey in my arsenal.

Who can forget the great lockout of 2004-2005? It was our first winter in the isolated countryside, and hubby took up bread making while listening to CBC Radio to dull the pain.

After that lockout, I vowed: Never again – even if it means temporarily relocating to the American South, where hockey is unpopular, to help hubby forget.

What do the women of Canada need to do to fix this impasse? I say we appeal to Mr. Bettman’s wife, Shelli, to work her magic. Couldn’t she leave a few glossy brochures promoting the benefits of early retirement on her hubby’s night table?

No more neck rubs, Gary, until you reach a settlement with the NHL Players’ Association. And Costco chicken and bagged salad will remain on the rotating dinner menu until I see a centre ice face-off.

The suffering won’t just be in major markets such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton. Think of those Winnipeggers. Rabid fans have invested thousands in merch only to share one brief season with their beloved Jets. It might actually drive them to finally complete construction of that much-delayed Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadians have both been forced into the grubby business of real estate – condo development – to expand their bottom lines. That’s right, flipping real estate. Could they sink any lower?

What about Don Cherry’s poor tailor? He might be forced into early retirement if Mr. Bettman continues with his stubborn nonsense.

The whole thing’s as galling as watching back-to-back episodes of House Hunters International. Will the portly, smug couple choose the suburban villa with the vanishing pool or the beachside McMansion with maid service? You just know that no actual cooking takes place on those marble countertops.

The latest affront to loyal hockey fans is enough to make me turn the channel to Hillbilly Handfishin’, Duck Dynasty or Swamp People to keep hubby entertained.

If this lockout runs past Christmas, we may have to strap on our rusty skates and head over to the Wakaw Jubilee Arena. A winter without hockey is not negotiable.

After one botched season of hockey, writer Patricia Dawn Robertson traded her Bauers for figure skates.

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